U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rise, but Labor Market Healing

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The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased last week for the first time in more than a month, but layoffs are easing amid a reopening economy and a shortage of people willing to work.

While other data on Thursday showed factory activity in the midAtlantic region continuing to grow at a steady pace in June, a measure of future production surged to its highest level in nearly 30 years. Factories in the region that covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware also reported stepping up hiring, which bodes well for job growth this month.

The scarcity of labor is a hurdle to faster employment growth. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday held its benchmark shortterm interest rate near zero and said it would continue to inject money into the economy through monthly bond purchases. The U.S. central bank brought forward its projections for the first postpandemic interest rate hikes into 2023 from 2024.

We continue to see labor market progress but, as has been the case through the pandemic, the situation remains fluid, said AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed Hiring Lab. We are in a wildly different place than we were in June 2020, but we have not crossed the finish line just yet.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 37,000 a seasonally adjusted 412,000 for the week ended June 12, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the first increase since late April. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast…

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